Tips & Tricks

Heating and Cooling Tips

Regarding thermostat settings, Curries recommends from 70 to 75 degrees in summer and 74 to 78 degrees in winter. Another tip is to install a programmable thermostat, which helps to reduce energy costs, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, by automatically lowering the temperature while you’re at work or asleep. Call us to learn more about programmable thermostats.

Preserve proper air flow to ensure a comfortable home. Don’t allow furniture, carpets or drapery to obstruct heating and cooling registers. If you have high/low return registers (pairs of registers located at the top and bottom of walls), you can increase air flow efficiency by following these seasonal tips. In the winter, open the bottom registers and close the top. In summer, close the bottom and open the top registers. This practice helps to pull cool air off the floor when it’s cold and warm air off the ceiling when it’s hot. But be careful not to shut too many supply registers — adequate air flow is required for heating and cooling systems to operate efficiently.

If you have a heat pump, keeping the pump’s outside unit unobstructed is important for efficient operation. Be sure to clear away leaves, grass, shrubs, snow or any other obstruction. Check filters monthly and clean or replace them if necessary. In winter, don’t be alarmed if you see steam rising from the pump, which is normal when the defrost cycle is removing ice from the unit for optimal performance. Contact Curries to set up a twice-yearly maintenance program — heat pumps work best when professionally maintained.

To ensure safety, a high efficiency gas furnace requires an outdoor vent that must not be obstructed. Be sure to always keep the exhaust vent clear of obstructions such as snow, leaves, etc. If the exhaust vent gets clogged, the furnace can get locked out and may shut down, which is a serious malfunction. In this event, call Curries immediately.

Curries also recommends that you check your furnace’s filters once a month and, if necessary, clean or replace them. We recommend you have your furnace professionally maintained twice a year. Call us and we’ll be happy to set up a maintenance program.

Common Heating & Cooling Problems

If you’re getting no cold air, it’s possible that a storm or power outage has tripped breakers and turned off the air conditioning. First check whether the unit is on; if it’s not, reset the breakers. If this doesn’t solve the problem, call Curries to set up a service call.

A clogged filter can prevent the unit from cooling air. If you think this may be the cause, inspect the filter and clean or replace it if necessary. If the unit continues to malfunction, call Curries to set up a service call.

Leaking can result from numerous problems, all of which need a trained professional to fix. Call Curries to set up a service call.

Plumbing Tips

When a pipe or fixture leaks, act quickly to prevent major water damage. To be prepared, learn where your water shut-off valves are located ahead of time. New homes have shut-off valves for every fixture, while all homes normally have a shut-off valve where the water line enters the house. In case of a leak, close the nearest shut-off valve and call Curries for emergency service.

To ensure safe operation, gas-powered water heaters have an outside vent. This vent must be unobstructed by leaves, brush, snow, or debris of any kind if it is to work efficiently. In the event the unit does not restart after a power outage, try unplugging the power vent and plugging it back in. If the water heater doesn’t restart after this procedure, call Curries to set up a service call.

Non-abrasive cleaners are the key to keeping your fixtures looking brand new. Avoid abrasive powders that can scratch your tubs, sinks and fittings. To maintain the sophisticated look of polished brass fixtures, be sure to wipe off all water and moisture. To prevent water stains, use a small squeegee to clear off tiles or shower panels after your bath or shower, then wipe down the surfaces with a dry towel. If you have acrylic fixtures, avoid foaming cleansers that can damage the finish and cause fixtures to crack; use multi-purpose or glass cleaners instead. Alternatively, try environmentally friendly non-toxic and biodegradable products. Ask us for suggestions.

Remember to disconnect all hoses from outside faucets before the first frost. First, slowly turn the faucet handle off while the hose is still attached and let the hose drain completely. Then disconnect the hose and store it until spring. Note that you should replace hose washers once a year. This ensures the connection between faucet and hose remains water-tight and prevents spraying and water loss at the connection.

New toilets need to meet government water-saving requirements of maximum 1.6 gallon per flush capacity. To help your toilet flush efficiently and not clog, avoid dropping anything into the bowl that shouldn’t go there and don’t overuse toilet paper. A plunger will usually correct clogs but call us if they persist. We can suggest solutions for avoiding the problem.

If your water heater is electric, push the reset button on the thermostat. If the heater does not restart, call Curries to set up a service call.

To reset a power-vented gas water heater (a motor on top of the unit forces the vent gases out of the house), unplug the motor, wait 15 seconds, then plug it back in. If the unit has a power switch: turn it off, wait 15 seconds, then turn it back on. call Curries to schedule a service call if you have to reset the water heater more than once a month. For B-vented gas water heaters (which rely on gravity to exhaust the vent gases), no hot water requires professional attention. Call Curries to schedule a service call.

If your garbage disposal isn’t working, point a flashlight down the drain to look for jammed items.  Remove anything you find, then push the reset button on the disposal. If it doesn’t restart, call Curries to set up a service call.

Water Conditioning Tips

Do you see spotting or staining on your faucets and fixtures? This probably means you have hard water. Hard water deposits minerals that cause corrosion in your water heater, which can shorten its life and impair its efficiency. One solution is to install a water softener. Another is to remove the mineral buildup in the bottom of the tank by periodically draining 7 to 10 gallons of water. Curries will be happy to help you with your hard water problem. Just give us a call.

If you have a water softening system, you need to monitor the salt level in the softening tank according to manufacturer’s instructions. Those instructions will say how often you need to check and how much salt to add, depending on the hardness of the water and how much water your household uses.

If you have a water conditioning system, be sure to change filters at least once a year or according to manufacturer’s instructions so your water doesn’t start tasting bad or sediment doesn’t start to build up. Curries carries replacement filters for all major brands of water conditioning systems.

Have you thought of installing a water filtration system? Consider this as an alternative to bottled water, which may be no better than municipal tap water and clutters up landfills with useless plastic. A water filtration system can be quickly and easily installed under your sink. Call Curries to learn more.

Common Water Problems

Water that comes out of the tap should be clear, taste good and be free of contaminants. If it tastes funny or looks stained, call us to discuss water treatment options.

Hard water is the most likely reason your soap doesn’t lather as much as you’d like. Check for stains on your tub, shower and sink, which are the result of hard water minerals depositing on surfaces. Call Curries to discuss how we can help. We can test your water to determine how hard it is and recommend solutions, such as a water softening system, whether your water comes from a well or a municipal supply.

Emergency Services

If you ever experience a plumbing emergency and need immediate repair, we monitor & return calls after business hours. We have a technician on standby from October – March for plumbing and heating problems, so do not hesitate to call upon our team! We do not require a signed service contract.